Friends, contacts and trust
by Adam J. Kovitz
The backbone of any successful entrepreneurial venture is based more upon who you know, rather than what you know. I call the "what you know" Relationship Capital, or "RC".
A well-connected individual has access to more capital (RC, and otherwise), talent and resources than most. As the saying goes, "no man is an island unto himself" and therefore, we are forced to rely and trust in others while managing multiple relationships as well as expectations if we truly want to be successful.
Often times, however, things go astray, expectations are not met and feelings are hurt, and that hurt can come from those who you thought were friends.
Recently one of my closest contacts confided in me a harsh realization about one of his long-time friends. I've actually spoken with the individual in question before, and their name came up in countless discussions. My contact, wanting to help this person (because they were financially desperate) introduced them to a business venture where this individual would stand to make a considerable sum of money. Talks broke down - my contact's friend was deemed by the other party to be inflexible, one-sided and rude.
It occurred to my friend, upon hearing the news, that:
a.) They may have damaged their credibility with their business acquaintances to whom they introduced their friend
b.) Even though we was a friend, they should have never introduced them to their business contacts, and
c.) Their friend was never really a friend as their manner has always been inflexible, one-sided and rude, even when it came to my contact.
There was a sadness in my contact's voice, and I empathetically felt for him, as I have experienced similar phenomena. In fact, those of us who have been disappointed and hardened by such circumstances might justify these experiences by stratifying their connections into friends, supporters, colleagues, acquaintances, contacts, rivals, competition, enemies and arch-nemeses.
Other more scientifically-minded (like myself) use an RC scale from -10 to 10 for certain key contacts, reassess those values periodically (weekly or monthly) and examine how they might change over time.
Yet other, more cynical, entrepreneurs simply leave friends and family out of any business dealings and take a much more sterile corporate approach to business as a defensive measure from dealing with such hurt. Over time, blocking or suppressing emotions can have their own detrimental effects upon one's mental and physical health.
I believe, however, that most entrepreneurs desire a more balanced approach to business. They don't deny their own emotional state and those of their team, but they do establish strong boundaries and enforce them to stay on target.
There are those who say that there are varying levels of trust and that the highest levels indicate a greater tolerance to being disappointed by their friends, colleagues, etc., but in the end it comes down to how we react to such changes or shifts in our relationships that truly define each and every one of us.
How about you? How do you manage your relationships? Feel free to comment on this article below or email me directly. I would love to hear from you.
All my best,
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